Each year, for our annual Christmas open house, we make these very cute Christmas mice. They are a great addition to a cookie tray. I think more of them are taken home wrapped in napkins than are actually eaten at the party.
The bodies of the mice are made from maraschino cherries dipped in chocolate. I drain and rinse the cherries and leave them on paper towels for 30 minutes to an hour, changing the paper once. They need to be fairly dry before dipping in chocolate. The stems become the tails. When dipping, totally seal the area of the cherry at the base of the stem. Don’t dip the entire stem in chocolate.
While the chocolate is still soft, add the heads (Hershey’s Kisses) or, if the chocolate hardens, you can dip the bottom of the Kiss in chocolate and stick it to the body.
The ears are sliced almonds, dipped in chocolate and set behind the head. They can be added while the body chocolate is still soft, but the timing is tricky. Too soft and the ears slip down the sides. Too hard and they don’t stick at all. I find it easier to attach all of them at the same time. I break an almond slice in half, dip the broken side in chocolate and attach it just behind the head.
To make the mice, you need:
- maraschino cherries with stems
- Hershey’s chocolate Kisses
- sliced almonds
- silver dragees (If you don’t want to use the little silver balls, you can make the eyes with cookie sprinkles or a spot of frosting.)
- melted chocolate for dipping (I use semi-sweet chocolate chips with 2 oz. of unsweetened baking chocolate added.)
In this picture you can see the set up. The pan of chocolate sits on a heating pad that has been wrapped in a towel and covered with aluminum foil. The gentle heat from the heating pad keeps the chocolate melted. The almonds are in a bowl for easy sorting. The dragees are attached by holding them with tweezers, barely dipping them into melted chocolate. They easily stick to the head (Kiss). I smear a small bit of chocolate on the aluminum foil which keeps the chocolate soft, and also gives me a perfect spot for dipping the eyes without immersing them too deeply into the chocolate. If you find the dragees do not stick well, set the tray of mice in the refrigerator for five minutes or so. When the melted chocolate touches the cold Kiss, the eyes will adhere immediately.
I make about 90 of these mice for our open house. Each jar of cherries has 27-31 cherries in it. DD#3 loves to find stemless cherries in the jar. She gets to eat those.
Do check the jar label. Some maraschino cherries have stems, some don’t. We live in a small town and can’t always find stemmed cherries locally. Larger grocery stores with more variety are an hour away. I sometimes pick the cherries up in the summer or fall before Christmas so I have them when I need them.
Try creating your own Christmas mice! They are fun to make and look cute on the cookie tray, as you can see in this picture of cookies packed for the volunteer firemen. Boxes also go to the police station, the staff at DD’s school, and others.